RSS Really is Really Simple

Album Cover: Begin To Hope

"On the radio, you hear November Rain. That solo's awful long, but it's a good refrain."
Regina Spektor / On The Radio

Posted on February 22, 2005 8:17 PM in XML
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

One of the things I've been meaning to do for a long time now is to create either an Atom or an RSS feed for my Coldplay site. I figured I'd just go with an Atom feed since I already have the PHP include to just plug in, but I decided to be a bit adventurous and wander down the path yet untraveled.

What I learned in the process is that there's a reason RSS is called "Really Simple Syndication." It indeed is really simple – not only to read, but to roll, if you will, as well. In fact, even though I'm partially inclined toward Atom, given that I have more experience with it, I'd have to say that RSS is the obvious choice for someone who is new to syndication and just wants to get a feed up. If you're more into the technical side of things (i.e. you enjoy reading long specs), then Atom is probably the smart way to go.

The only key differences I noticed, after having rolled a moderately involved feed using both technologies, are that RSS's comment tag is better supported by Bloglines than the equivalent construct in Atom, and you don't have to add as many attributes to your RSS tags as you do when creating a feed in Atom. This may be a gross generalization, and some might think I am off-base in my conclusions, but I'm just giving my honest assessment of the two technologies coming from a get-in/get-out developer's standpoint.

In the end, from a user's standpoint, I now have a feed they can subscribe to. It might work better or worse depending on the aggregator, but the main content is there in a semi-standard format, and you can't shake a stick at that. If you feel like keeping up-to-date on all things Coldplay, click here to subscribe.

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